"time to update" typography over a photo of two people working on a laptop and tablet

WordPress plugins should be updated twice a month, but if you don’t have enough time to do that, a minimum of once a month will get you by. If your website is relatively large and has a high level of traffic, we recommend two to three times a month to ensure any vulnerabilities are patched ASAP.


Should I update WordPress plugins?

The short answer is YES; you should update WordPress plugins. Older versions of plugins can open doors for hackers. And leaving plugins out of date for too long can cause problems once they are finally updated. What kind of problems are we talking about here? Your site may suddenly have broken elements, styling issues, or may not function the way you intended. Plugins can even stop working entirely due to compatibility issues with WordPress CMS.


How often should you update WordPress?

Here at periscopeUP, we prefer a monthly update schedule with critical security updates patched immediately. Some people recommend performing updates twice a month, but you could miss vital security patches if you’re not checking more often. We also utilize a tool called ManageWP to monitor and update our WordPress websites from a single dashboard. 

Our WordPress maintenance specialists subscribe to several security newsletters from services that monitor plugin security vulnerabilities and the latest patches. The most robust and easy-to-digest security newsletter is from iThemes Security. The “WordPress Vulnerability Report” is a weekly post on their blog listing the latest WordPress Core, Plugin (known and unknown fixes), and theme vulnerabilities. 

You should list all of your site’s plugins and note how often the developers update their code. If they haven’t updated the plugin in over a year, it may be time to consider an alternative. Due to changes made to WordPress Core, your plugins, website, or both may be at risk if you’re not updating your plugins regularly. There are a few simple plugins that don’t necessarily need updating, but you should still update them to be on the safe side.


Back Up WordPress before performing updates

Having backups of your website running on an automated schedule is pivotal for any unknowns that may occur. And it’s absolutely critical to run a backup before performing updates. The ManageWP tool we discussed above ensures daily/weekly/monthly backups are running for all our websites. With a premium backup plan, you can run “Safe Updates,” which automatically creates a restore point before the update. That way, if something breaks, you can quickly restore your site to the previous mount before running the update.


Should you update WordPress or plugins first?

Due to plugins having compatibility issues with different versions of WordPress Core, we recommend performing plugin updates first. Update each plugin individually, check for complications, and then update WordPress Core. After completing the Core update, some of your plugins may need additional updates to be compatible with the subsequent version of WordPress. Go back through your plugins, do individual updates again, and check for any issues.


Have Questions or Need Help?

Overwhelmed or just looking for assistance with your WordPress website? periscopeUP’s WordPress experts are here to help. We offer monthly/as-needed maintenance plans along with WordPress evaluation services. We can review your WordPress website and provide recommendations and suggestions on the best course of action for the longevity of your website.

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